History and Info – Jefferson City


Jefferson CityJEFFERSON CITY is the capital of Missouri and the seat of Cole county. It is situated on the Missouri River, 105 miles (170 km) west of St. Louis. The city, at the geographic center of the state about midway between St. Louis and Kansas City, was designed to be the state capital from its inception in 1821, when the federal government donated the land for the capital. Most of the city’s workers once were employed by the state and city governments, but the city now has several modern industries.

The present state capitol, completed in 1917, is an imposing domed building with interior murals by Thomas Hart Benton depicting the history of Missouri. The State Museum, in the capitol building, features displays of arrowheads and guns, Civil War trophies, and antiques. The governor’s mansion, built in 1871, is nearby, as are the State Office Building, the Jefferson State Office Building, and the Missouri Supreme Court Building.

The city also is the site of the state library, which houses a fine law collection. The city’s Thomas Jefferson Library System serves four counties through a main library, branch libraries, and bookmobiles. In addition, the headquarters of the Missouri Department of Commerce are located here.

The Cole County Historical Society Museum in Jefferson City contains souvenirs of five wars, old maps and photographs, and inaugural ball gowns of many first ladies.

Educational facilities include Lincoln Univer-sity, which was founded in 1866 by veterans of two Civil War black infantry regiments. Since then it has changed from a small hometown black university to a major coeducational state university, with about half its enrollment made up of white students. The Capital Business College was founded in 1915.

Jefferson City has an industrial base of more than 20 industries, including two publishing fîrms, an electrical equipment manufacturer, and a manufacturer of petrolatum. It is also a trad-ing center for nearby farming areas.

Originally a small river settlement named for Thomas Jefferson, it was chosen as the state capital in 1821, incorporated as a town in 1825, and incorporated as a city in 1839. It grew slowly, but once was an important transfer point from railroad to packet boat on the route to the West. Jefferson City has a mayor and couneil form of government.

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